Wealth and family connections. Chronic mistreatment of vulnerable children. The despising of the poor by those comfortably well off. Institutional life in place of home life for the poor. Lessons in “humility” and “gratitude” to those warned to keep their “place.” -- But even in that place, flickers of kindness and opportunities to better herself. Leading to — independence, and then, in her new position, an unexpected sense of home and feelings of respect and love. -- But the veil is torn away and reality revealed, followed by the direst poverty, hunger, situational homelessness. Dangers to the homeless are real, while those with homes perceive threats from the homeless. Of course, the story does not end there....
…It’s perfectly possible for a man to lead a comfortable, indeed enviable life by any objective standard, yet be consumed with bitterness driven by status anxiety.
You might think this is impossible, that having a good job and a comfortable life would inoculate someone against envy and hatred. That is, you might think that if you knew nothing of human nature and the world.
I’ve spent my whole adult life in rarefied academic circles, where everyone has a good income and excellent working conditions. Yet I know many people in that world who are seething with resentment because they aren’t at Harvard or Yale, or who actually are at Harvard or Yale but are seething all the same because they haven’t received a Nobel Prize.
“Whenever I went out, I heard on all sides cordial salutations, and was welcomed with friendly smiles. … At this period of my life, my heart far oftener swelled with thankfulness than sank with dejection: and yet, reader, to tell you all, in the midst of this calm, this useful existence … I used to rush into strange dreams at night…. By nine o’clock the next morning I was punctually opening the school; tranquil, settled, prepared for the steady duties of the day.” - Charlotte Bronte, JANE EYRE
I'm not even separated from my true love, and still it takes that second cup of coffee every morning for me to shake the nightmares of these times.